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Celebrating Scotland’s Finest Family Firms

Posted: 21st November 2018

Scotland’s most profitable family-owned companies have been revealed in a major new report highlighting the impact of family businesses on the economy.

The latest research by Family Business United Scotland and sponsored by Edinburgh’s Carbon Financial shows that the top 100 firms in Scotland collectively generate a combined turnover of £17.2 billion, post £1.2 billion profits and support more than 111,000 jobs.

Paul Andrews, founder of Family Business United, said: “Family firms are really the engine room of the Scottish economy and they provide jobs, revenues and support communities throughout Scotland.

“This report clearly quantifies the importance and diversity of a sector that deserves more support to ensure that these businesses continue for generations to come.

“Their contribution in terms of wealth, incomes and job creation can easily be quantified but in addition, the support that these businesses provide to the communities in which they operate should also not be under-estimated either.”

All of the businesses listed in the Top 100 generate turnover in excess of £25 million which makes them significant businesses, and with Arnold Clark reporting turnover of £3.7 billion the scale of some of these firms can be quantified instantly.

Collectively, the Top 100 family firms in Scotland generate over £17 billion annually, a major slice of national GDP and within this highly successful group of businesses there are over 111,000 employees.

The Top 10 Family Firms In Scotland *

1. William Grant & Sons Holdings Limited
2. Arnold Clark Automobiles
3. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill
4. D.C. Thomson & Company Limited
5. James Jones & Sons Limited
6. Lunar Fishing Company
7. Park’s of Hamilton
8. Balmoral Group
9. R.J Mcleod (Contractors) Limited
10.GAP Holdings Limited

*Based on businesses with a turnover in excess of £25 million per their last set of filed accounts at Companies House, ranked in terms of Profit Before Tax

Scotland’s most profitable family firm is William Grant & Sons, the whisky distiller that was founded back in 1887. It generated a pre-tax profit of £260 million in its last financial year, generated turnover in excess of £1 billion and employed 2,100 staff.

Scotland’s largest family business by turnover, and second most profitable was Arnold Clark, the motor retailer. The business was founded in 1954 by the late Sir Arnold Clark. Turnover in the latest filed accounts was ££3.7 billion generating a profit before tax of £125 million and as business they employ nearly 11,000 people.

The mix of businesses is also of interest as it combines a mix of the traditional industries such as timber and whisky with newer sectors involving technology, pharmaceuticals and renewable energies.

Mark Christie, partner at Carbon Financial’s Edinburgh office, said: “Family businesses are incredible, full of pride, passion and integrity and have a story to tell. Each and every family firm in Scotland has a narrative that helps define who they are.

“Furthermore, family businesses across Scotland deserve more support and to be recognised for what they do. In many cases they take a long term view, investing for the future, and committing to their business in the communities in which they operate so successfully and their contribution needs to be more widely appreciated and understood.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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